|Long-range shootout on tap as Suns host Hawks|
The Phoenix Suns will bring a franchise-record stretch of 3-point accuracy into Thursday's home game against Atlanta, a team that has also benefited from the long ball.
The Suns were third in the league in 3-point percentage and eighth in the league in makes after hitting 16 triples in a 123-115 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday, extending their streak of making at least 11 3-pointers to eight consecutive games.
Hawks guard Trae Young, meanwhile, tied a career high with eight treys in his second career 40-point game Tuesday. He had 17 of his 42 points in the fourth quarter of the Hawks' 125-121 victory at Denver.
"I'm just trying to do whatever it takes," Young said, "whether it's scoring, whether it's getting everybody involved. Just trying to do whatever it takes to put my team in the best position to win."
The Suns will play the fifth game of a six-game homestand against Atlanta, which is running the gamut of Pacific Division leaders. The Hawks will close out a season-long five-game road trip with upcoming games in Los Angeles against the Lakers and the Clippers.
The Suns do not seek out the 3-point shot, but when it is unimpeded, they are encouraged to let it fly. Seven Suns made multiple threes in a blowout of Brooklyn on Sunday, a franchise first, according to Elias.
"I told our guys to play free," Suns coach Monty Williams said. "I tell our guys if they have worked on a shot, shoot it. The last thing I want is guys thinking about a shot. If you've worked on it and it is an efficient shot for you, take the shot. We want our guys playing with confidence."
Aron Baynes, who has taken over at center during Deandre Ayton's 25-game suspension, has been a revelation from outside. He tied a career high with four 3-pointers against the Lakers and has made a career-high 22 this season after hitting 21 with Boston last season.
"We see what everyone does in practice and so we have the utmost confidence when they take those shots it is the right shot for the team," Baynes said. "When we get the ball moving and we are getting open shots, guys are going to knock them down."
Baynes has four 20-point games this season, all in the last six games, after having four 20-point games in the first 431 games of his career.
Young has three straight 30-point games and five this season, and he was sixth in the league in scoring (28.0 points) and fourth in assists (8.7) entering Wednesday. He stared into the crowd beyond the Denver bench after hitting a 3-pointer in the third quarter.
"Some of it was the bench but some of it was to one of the dudes in the crowd," Young said. "I'm not about to get fined talking about it. Sometimes what the fans say is unacceptable. I can't say nothing to him. I can't do anything towards him. I can just get buckets and look at him. He stopped talking as much."
Atlanta starting guard Kevin Huerter was forced to leave the Denver game with a left shoulder injury. The Hawks already are playing without John Collins, serving a 25-game suspension for violating the league's anti-drug policy. Collins averaged 17.0 points and 8.8 rebounds in his first five games.
--Field Level Media